Improving Turbulence SIGMET Decision Support With Ellrod-Knox Guidance

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Monday, 5 January 2015
Ed Holicky, NOAA/NWS, Kansas City, MO; and S. Silberberg

Handout (7.6 MB)

The Aviation Weather Center (AWC) issues international turbulence Significant Meteorological Information (SIGMETs) over the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. SIGMET issuance warns the international aviation community of severe turbulence, closes airspace, necessitates en route diversions, and may require more fuel on a given flight. The Ellrod-Knox (EK) turbulence diagnostic is a tool recently introduced at AWC which provides forecaster guidance for areas of potential clear air turbulence (CAT). This study examines cases where forecasters utilized Ellrod-Knox to improve decision support for the issuance of SIGMETs for severe turbulence. Results show that the use of Ellrod-Knox in combination with aircraft and satellite observations now allow AWC forecasters to issue pre-emptive turbulence SIGMETs up to 3 hours in advance of pilot reports/aircraft observations of severe turbulence with improved spatial accuracy. These accurate and timely pre-emptive turbulence SIGMETs reduce aircraft encounters with severe turbulence over the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans thereby improving flight safety and increase economic benefits.